Honesty requires a lot of courage, respect, responsibility, and good judgment. It is the cornerstone to building a legacy of integrity. It sounds like teaching honesty to children would be difficult, but it is not.
Children are watching the adults around them very closely. If we lead honest lives, our children are learning to be trustworthy, upstanding citizens.
There are so many opportunities everyday to teach honesty. When I talk with students who have gotten into trouble on the playground, seldom is the story “one-sided.” As Mr. Volker often states, to be truly honest you must tell “the whole story,” even the part that is your fault. It is very common for children to tell us only the parts that make them look good. They don’t want to disappoint us, and they certainly don’t want to get in trouble. In the end though, if they do “tell the whole story” they feel much better, and the underlying problems are more likely to be resolved.
We are teaching the students in our care to be honest and forthright – the kind of citizens that are necessary for a democracy to thrive. If a teacher makes a mistake, he/she admits it, and uses it as a golden opportunity to teach a lesson to the students about accepting responsibility, and learning from their mistakes. Only then can the problem be corrected.
In your own lives at home and in the community, ’fess up to your failings. If you were speeding, do not argue with the policeman who stopped you…your children in the back seat are listening to you. If you used inappropriate language while arguing, don’t make excuses for your poor behavior. Let your children know that you should have used better judgment and spoken in a more civil manner. If you are given more change than warranted, go back to the cashier with your child, and return the money. That would be a huge lesson for your child in this world where greed seems to be the order of the day!
As for me, I want to live in an honest society, where my neighbors can be counted on, believed in, and trusted. Our children are our hope and promise for a better future. We want them to be the people of integrity in their communities and the future leaders in our country and the world. Honesty is essential for these real possibilities to become the new reality. Everyday at school, we live the truth in “the future IS now!”